December is a party marathon in my family. My sister, father, and partner all have birthdays in December and so do I. Then there’s Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years’ to contend with. This month is basically a non-stop celebration. But in between flipping latkes, sending birthday wishes, and decking my many halls, I’ve been test-driving my 2020 Christmas Day menu. And rather than do this for my own selfish amusement, I thought I would share every course with you over the next 12 days. Yes, Christmas is 12 days away – I don’t know how that happened either. So let’s kick things off with these Brussels Sprout Egg Rolls with Sweet Chili Pomegranate Sauce.
The theme of my 2020 Christmas menu is Chinese Take Out meets North American Festive Feast. It’s a nod to my partner’s vaguely Jewish upbringing and my vaguely Christian upbringing. Think of this meal as a love letter to Chinese Canadian food and the classic prime rib dinner. Of course, egg rolls were the only logical place to start. Think about it, when was the last time you ordered Chinese food and didn’t spring for an order of egg rolls? For me, it was half-past never!
But these egg rolls are not ordinary egg rolls. Sure the filling contains cabbage and is seasoned with soy sauce and Shaoxing wine, but these rolls also sport shaved Brussels sprouts. A truly Christmassy ingredient if there ever was one. And the overall festiveness of these rolls is only further emphasized with the Sweet Chili Pomegranate dipping sauce. Red, green, and gold? Yeah, these rolls have the Christmas color scheme down.
Now, these Brussels Sprout Egg Rolls are fairly easy to pull off. But you will have to put in a little work in order to limit the amount of moisture in your filling. This does require a few detailed steps. But they aren’t difficult, they’re just a little fussy. And no, I’m not talking puff pastry level fussy.
You’re going to have to cook the filling until the vast majority of the liquid has cooked out of the veg. Once you’ve done that, I would suggest adding a sprinkling of cornstarch to thicken any remaining liquid. Then, chill the filling in the fridge overnight. The vegetables will continue to weep moisture overnight and it will collect at the bottom of the bowl. The next morning, you can drain your filling once more and get wrapping. Bonus – the filling will be easier to work with and wrap when cold.
From there you can wrap your egg rolls any way your heart desires. I chose to wrap mine spring roll style, which is more or less like a burrito. Whichever way you choose to wrap, make sure you force as much air out the rolls as you possibly can. And don’t forget to seal the rolls securely. A dab or a cornstarch and water solution can help with that.
Now, I know someone is going to want to bake these but I would recommend against it. The true joy of an egg roll is that perfectly crisp exterior and I just don’t think an oven can get that for you. I don’t own an air fryer, so I’m not sure how they would go over in one of those. But I do know a vat of hot oil will give you the desired results. Does this method result in low-fat egg rolls? Absolutely not. But Christmas is really not the time to explore the topic of diet food. We have all of January to gnaw on rice cakes and pretend to like chia pudding – let’s not rush things.
Once your egg rolls are fried, you can actually cool them completely and pop them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze them. Let them hang out like that for an hour before transferring them to a freezer bag and freeze them long term. That’s what I did. Aside from the one I graciously tasted on your behalf, this entire batch of egg rolls is currently residing in my freezer waiting for the big day. And when that day arrives, that’s when you can put these egg rolls in the oven without severely disappointing yourself.
So that’s everything you need to know about these Brussels Sprout Egg Rolls with Sweet Chili Pomegranate Sauce. I’ll be tackling the sides next – the best part of any meal – so be sure to check back.
Brussels Sprout Egg Rolls with Sweet Chili Pomegranate Sauce
- large wok
- Candy Thermometer
- 1 tbsp neutral oil I used canola
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 1½ cups Brussels sprouts shaved with a mandoline
- ¼ head green cabbage sliced thin
- 227g (8 oz) cremini mushrooms diced
- 1 can water chestnuts minced
- 3-5 green chili thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp Thai basil chiffonade
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 tsp cornstarch divided
- 24 egg roll wrappers
- oil for frying
Sweet Chili Pomegranate Sauce
- ½ cup pomegranate juice
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sambal oelek
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
For the Egg Rolls
- Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and saute until just translucent. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Take the pan off of the heat and deglaze with the Shaoxing wine. Add the Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cremini mushrooms, water chestnuts, and chilis. Saute until the vegetables have softened and most of the moisture has cooked off. Take the filling off of the heat and stir in the Thai basil.
- Transfer the filling to a bowl and add the soy sauce, honey, and 2 teaspoons of the cornstarch. Toss to combine. Cover the bowl and transfer it to the fridge. Let the filling chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Drain the filling of any additional moisture that may have accumulated at the bottom of the bowl. A fine mesh strainer is useful here. Once the filling is drained, it's time to start rolling.
- Place an egg roll wrapper on a cutting board in a diamond formation. Whisk to combine the remaining cornstarch and about 1 tablespoon of water. Dip your finger into the mixture and trace the edge of the top half of the eggroll wrapper. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper and form it into a rough rectangle. Take the corner closest to your and fold it over the filling. Tuck both sides of the wrapper towards the center and continue rolling away from yourself until the egg roll seals. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
- Once all the egg rolls are wrapped. Heat 3 inches of neutral oil in a large wok until it reaches 350°F. Add the egg rolls, 4-5 at a time, and fry until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the fried egg rolls to a cooling rack set inside a baking sheet. Repeat until all the egg rolls are fried.
- At this point, you can serve the egg rolls immediately or you can cool them to room temperature before transferring them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the rolls in the freezer and freeze for 1 hour before transferring them to a freezer bag.**
For the Pomegranate Sauce
- Pour the pomegranate juice, vinegar, honey, and sambal oelek into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Whisk to combine the water and cornstarch and pour it into the simmering pomegranate juice. Stir until the mixture thickens enough to readily coat the back of a spoon. Take the sauce off of the heat and let cool.
- When ready to serve, spoon the sauce into a bowl and garnish with pomegranate arils.